Media executives validated a Code of Ethics for journalists in The Gambia at a day’s workshop held at the GTMI on Friday 20 May, 2016.
The workshop was organised by the Gambia Press Union GPU). Apart from editors from the print and electronic media and bloggers, representatives from the ministry of information and communication, the UTG school of journalism and PURA were in attendance.
The Code sets out the freedoms and responsibilities of media institutions and practitioners, while guaranteeing the protection of the rights of consumers and subjects of media content. The GPU hopes that the Code, which will apply to all categories of journalists, working with print, radio, TV and new media, will inspire the setting up of an independent self- regulatory body that will protect the freedom and independence of the news media.
The Code comprises three components:
- a) The first component is the main code which includes the principle of protecting and promoting media freedom and independence, promoting health, safety and socio-economic well-being of the public; pursuing the truth and ensuring accuracy in news reporting; promptly rectifying errors with due prominence; distinguishing facts and opinions; striving for fairness and honesty in news reporting; giving credit to information from another source; taking privacy issues into account; protecting confidential sources of information; respecting embargoes; avoiding prejudices; observing the GPU Code of Conduct on Reporting on Children; and shunning sensationalism.
- b) The second component is the Media Guidelines for Reporting on Gender Based violence in The Gambia. It outlines the principles of pursuing accuracy, sensitivity, responsibility and fairness when reporting on gender based violence; not disclosing the identity of the survivor either directly or indirectly in such news reporting unless she/he consents; avoiding stigma and discrimination and stereotyping of survivors; not promoting gender based violence and exposing all forms of it; obtaining information from survivors for publication only when they fully understand its consequences, and if the survivor is under 18, the consent of the parent/guardian will be required; the survivor’s interest is paramount.
These were the two documents that were reviewed and adopted with amendments. The third component, the GPU Code of Conduct on Reporting on Children, is already in use.
Participants hope that the application of this Code will regulate the dissemination of information and enhance the standard and professionalism of media reports. They anticipate that if media houses and media practitioners embrace this Code there will be fewer errors and complaints by affected persons.
The GPU has expressed its intention to ensure that every journalist gets a copy of this and digests it as well. It also indicated its intention to encourage media houses to make this Code as their own.